I didn’t expect the chamomile to come back this spring.
Last year was my first spring in a new home and new climate. I didn’t get much gardening done, but I did sow some chamomile seeds in the grey clay as a hopeful start to an herb garden. Little feathery leaves grew about an inch up from the ground and stayed there through the fall. It wasn’t my only gardening failure last year, and I tried not to worry about it.
This cold spring, the chamomile came back with a beautiful vengeance. Even now, in mid-May, it’s ready to bloom. So it was perfect timing when my library hold on a new release came in: Homegrown Tea by Cassie Liversidge.
Homegrown Tea is a browsable book of over 40 plants that can be used for tea. There’s “the” tea plant, of course, but also other leaves, seeds, roots, and flowers that may be brewed into a tea. Each plant has about 6 pages dedicated to medicinal benefits, growing and harvesting methods, and, of course, how to brew as tea. The photos and illustrations were beautiful, and many of them were full-page. My favorite part: a sidebar for each plant called “Tea Bag Friends” with suggested tea blends.
While this is not a basic gardening book, it’s still accessible. There is a helpful section near the end on plant care, including how to divide different types of plants covered in the book. There’s also a section on drying and preserving your tea, and resources for finding some of the more unusual plants.
I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a gardening book … OR a cookbook. Because that’s what this book really is: ultimately it will help me grow, blend, and create my own teas for sharing with friends.